Xhaçka - Edstadler: Albania met the conditions, time to open negotiation talks

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Olta Xhaçka, received today in a meeting the Federal Minister for Europe and Constitution of the Republic of Austria, Karoline Edstadler, who is paying a two-day visit to Albania.
Both ministers assessed the need to alleviate the restrictions for the citizens after mass vaccination in the EU and the Western Balkans.
"We have made tremendous progress in this regard. We have now passed 500,000 inoculations. In the current conditions, whether for tourism, family or work reasons, the movement of people between the Western Balkans and the European Union is very important. Therefore, I brought to your attention the need to alleviate at the utmost the obstacles for our region, which is part of Europe and more closely integrated to the EU internal market, as part of the preparations for the membership", said Minister Xhaçka.
She reconfirmed the fulfillment of the conditions and the need for the adoption of the negotiating framework as soon as possible and the holding of the first Intergovernmental Conference with Albania.
"Albania, though considerably conditioned by the pandemic for a year, continued its commitment by providing tangible and sustainable results in the main areas identified by the Council conclusions in March 2020 and fulfilling all the conditions set by the Council for holding the First Intergovernmental Conference. It is now the EU's turn to assess our concrete achievements, starting the actual membership talks", said the minister during the press conference.
On the other hand, the Austrian Minister stressed Austria’s support for holding the First Intergovernmental Conference with Albania and emphasized the importance of the enlargement process for the future of the EU. Minister Edstadler also underlined the importance of involving the Western Balkans countries in the discussions of the 'Conference on the Future of Europe', a process that should start on May 9, Europe Day, as a good omen for the region and its prospect of the EU membership.

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